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How to Prevent Exhaust Fires in a Commercial Kitchen


Eliminating the risk of fire in a commercial kitchen is one of the biggest challenges that a restaurant owner has to deal with. Most of these fires happen due to mediocre quality fire protection systems and negligent cleaning of the exhaust hoods. Even if it is a small fire, it can cause disruption to your restaurant business and lead to damages, if the fire is not controlled and stopped in time.

At Nationwide Fire Protection, we get a lot of questions about how to reduce the risk of exhaust fire in a commercial kitchen and how to keep the entire restaurant properly ventilated at all times.

If you run a high-end restaurant or a public or private commercial kitchen, you should first build a robust ventilation system, which eliminates heat and smoke from the kitchen and keeps the inside atmosphere comfortable and healthy for your workers as well as your customers. Most importantly, you should invest in the right type of exhaust hoods and HVAC systems to prevent fire breakouts. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has created fire safety codes that you must comply with to stay safe and run your business smoothly and successfully. 

Given below are some of the most effective ways that you should use to reduce the risk of exhaust fire in your kitchen.

#1. Invest in the Right Type of Exhaust Hood Technology

The large volume of cooking in a commercial kitchen generates lots of grease, fats, and oils on a regular basis. Instead of using uncertified and poor-quality solutions, you should always install the right kind of hoods, which are the best match for the type and volume of cooking applications and the size of your kitchen. Before you move ahead with the installation of exhaust hoods, you should make sure it uses the latest technology and is the most ideal solution for your kitchen.

The role of kitchen hoods is to improve the air quality of your kitchen by replacing grease, smoke, fats, oils, and heat with fresh air. If there is no proper ventilation, the air quality will deteriorate and affect the health of the kitchen staff and those who come to your restaurant for dining.

At Nationwide Fire Protection, we provide restaurants with the most advanced and the most perfect type of exhaust hoods. Before we install a hood, we take various key factors into consideration including the size and design of your kitchen, cooking type, and the CFM you need. Exhaust hoods vary in terms of size, functionality, and style. It is only after proper inspection and measurements that we determine which exhaust hood fits your commercial kitchen best.

#2. Select the Right Type of Grease Filters

Removal of grease from the kitchen always remains a key concern. That is exactly why you need to pay careful attention to grease filters. All grease filters are not the same. You need to choose grease filters as per the type of cooking you do. For example, a spark arrestor filter is a specific type of filter which is needed in commercial kitchens with solid fuel cooking operations.

Our team of experts will determine the right type of grease filters for your kitchen so that sparks and embers do not get into the exhaust hood system. This is an important step in the reduction of exhaust fires.

#3. Install Grease Duct Access Doors

This is a crucial component of ductwork. After the ductwork has been completed, you will need access to the inside of it for cleaning the grease buildup. Our team will install grease duct access doors at every point where there is a cut-out in the ductwork. To prevent exhaust hood fire in the kitchen, it is essential to keep the ductwork clean and free from grease coats.

#4. Install Exhaust Fan Access Panels

Unless you have exhaust fan access panels installed, it will be difficult to reach the areas of the up blast fans. These panels, therefore, give you direct access so that the cleaning and inspection of fan blades are easy.

#5. Have a Rooftop Grease Containment System

No matter where grease gathers in your kitchen, it becomes a potential fire hazard. Even if it accumulates on the roof of the kitchen, it increases the risk of fire as well as causes environmental issues.

As per the fire safety codes, you must install a rooftop grease containment system. The role of this system is to collect all the oil and grease into a receptacle, and not let it gather on the roof. As a result, the system helps the fan operate in a smooth manner for proper ventilation and air quality.

#6. Give the Exhaust Hood Proper Maintenance and Cleaning

Every component of the exhaust hood system requires proper cleaning on a regular basis. Unlike general cleaning, this type of cleaning requires knowledge and effort to reach all those parts and areas where grease can accumulate, without actually being visible from outside. 

Key parts of a kitchen vent hood include:

  • Sump
  • Grease Filters
  • Blowers or Fans
  • Ductwork
  • Damper

During the hood cleaning, a professional will inspect and clean every area or surface where the grease coat may be hiding. For example, if grease gathers inside the ductwork, the efficiency of the entire system will be affected. Among other components, grease filters gather the maximum amount of grease. According to expert recommendations, it is best practice to clean the filters at the interval of every one or two months. This will enhance the performance of hoods.

#7. Seek the Help of a Professional Hood Cleaning Company

Exhaust hood cleaning is the job of professionals. If you plan for a thorough cleaning, you should always hire trained and certified persons to perform the task. You may find a number of hood cleaning companies in or near your location. However, you should hire only those who specialize in it.

Do not assign the crucial task of hood cleaning to just any company or any person that you may come across. Many companies will claim to do hood cleaning, but they are not actually specialists. If they lack specialization and experience in the job, you should completely avoid them. Exhaust hood cleaning is not cleaning for appearance. In fact, it is a thorough and bare metal cleaning. If the greasy residue is left uncleaned, your commercial kitchen will have the risk of a potential fire breakout. There are many hood parts that largely remain out of sight, but they are places that have a high amount of grease buildup. A quality hood cleaning company will perform effective cleaning of the entire exhaust hood system.

The cleaning of the exhaust hood system is connected with the health and safety of your employees and customers. Be wise enough to avoid hiring untrained persons and unreliable cleaning companies. Always work with a cleaning company that specializes and has expertise in different types of exhaust hoods. Go for companies that have been satisfying clients for years.

Talk to a Kitchen Fire Protection Specialist!

Unless you are well-prepared to deal with it, you never when fire can break out in your commercial kitchen and lead to serious consequences. If you care for the safety of people and assets and don’t want to jeopardize your business as a whole, you should fit your kitchen with the right kind of exhaust hoods, grease filters, an access door for the exhaust system. At Nationwide Fire Protection, we have been serving restaurant owners with innovatively engineered solutions for fire protection as well as enhancing the air quality in the kitchen. 

Located in Denver, Colorado, we specialize in the installation of highly efficient hoods, high-tech restaurant fire systems, fire extinguishers, and fire alarm systems. Our long and successful track record is proof that you can always rely on us to handle all of your fire safety requirements effectively.

You can reach out to our specialist via a phone call or write us an email using the contact form on our website.

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